Magazine article International Wildlife

With Human Numbers Up, What Do We Do Next?

Magazine article International Wildlife

With Human Numbers Up, What Do We Do Next?

Article excerpt

One of the great milestones in human history is projected to occur this year on October 12: the birth of the six billionth person on Earth.

That might seem an odd subject to cover in a magazine devoted to wildlife and natural resources. But as the special report starting on page 22 points out, the increase in human numbers is directly related to the survival of wild species and the general health of other natural resources. In fact, human population is the single greatest threat to ecological communities and the species that depend on them.

As our report summarizes, each of the people on Earth is a consumption machine. No single one of us makes much of a dent on natural resources. But together we are all degrading oceans and forests, mountainsides and deserts, even the air we breathe and the water we drink. Those of us who live in rich countries, especially the United States (where the photo, above, shows a worker in a sawmill), share a disproportionate amount of the blame because, as the story reports, we consume far more per capita than our counterparts in the developing world. …

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